Synergy important in new Triple-A skipper

Synergy important in new Triple-A skipper

HOUSTON -- In addition to trying to find a new Triple-A affiliate, the Astros are in the hunt for a new Triple-A manager after announcing earlier in the week Marc Bombard wouldn't return after two seasons at the helm of the Round Rock Express.

Houston general manager Ed Wade said it's important to find a Triple-A manager who has a strong relationship and will share the same philosophies as the Major League manager. No one understands this more than Astros manager Brad Mills, who spent six years as a Triple-A manager.

"I was in very close contact with the manager and tried to do everything he did, and that's one of the reasons the Triple-A manager and the coaching staff stays at the Major League level in Spring Training with the Major League staff for so long, so they can take a look and see how they're teaching," he said.

Mills said it's important for the Triple-A players to instill tactics, such as running routes or throwing to the cutoff man, like the players would be prepared to do at the Major League level, regardless of the dimensions of the Minor League park.

Also, players who are hitting in the thick of the order in Triple-A might have a future in the Major Leagues hitting lower in the order, making it important that they learn how to hit behind runners, be adept at hit-and-runs and be able to bunt.

"There's going to be different things asked of that hitter at the Major League than would be asked at the Triple-A level," Mills said. "He still has to able to do a lot of those things."